The hardest thing about being Vegan.

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It has been nearly 2 months now since I have been 100% vegan. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and it truly feels like my mind has been opened up tenfold. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel I’ve had to give up much compared to the amount I have gained. However, the hardest things about going vegan may surprise you:

DEALING WITH OTHER PEOPLE…….

Prepare to be the topic of many dining conversations – Whether you like it or not, the fact that you eat plants, will be discussed and dissected and made fun of. It’ll be hard at times when all you really want to do is enjoy the meal in front of you instead of constantly being reminded that you’re the outcast in these situations.

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People will constantly ask where you get your protein from – When I first turned Vegan, my mum was worried that I would develop a protein deficiency. I would explain to her that there was such a wide range of vegetarian protein sources but, still she was wary. After a while, I started to doubt whether I was getting enough protein so I decided to download MyFitnessPal and track my macros for a week to see. To my surprise, I wasn’t only reaching my protein goals for the day, I was exceeding them. I was also consuming more protein than I was when I was consuming meat.

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You will feel down at times – Once you have educated yourself on what goes on in the meat and dairy industry, and I mean what REALLY goes on, you will have a hard time trying to accept that some people are happier not knowing or seeing the truth while others, just don’t care. You can’t make everyone watch slaughterhouse and dairy farm footage, read countless studies or research on the link with the meat industry and causes of climate change, species extinction, ocean dead zones, deforestation, world hunger and so on. And lastly, people often find change hard, which I can totally relate to. It took me 26 years of eating meat and dairy to change and Culture; History; Conformity; it’s what we are used to, so why would we change so easily?

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Everyone you know is suddenly a nutrition expert – Listen to your body, not to anyone else.

You will get defensive because you actually give a shit about something other than the Kardashians and premier league results.

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You will have to read every package label! You will have to avoid foods you never thought would include any animal byproducts. Who knew that Guinness contained fish bladder in its brew? Marshmallows contained gelatine? and raspberry-flavoured sweets contained the anal glands of a beaver? Not I.

People will think you’re trying to be morally superior when all you’re trying to do is make this lifestyle work for you and others who have expressed interest. I’m not out there to force anyone or try to turn my friends and family into strict vegans. I’m not saying you deserve to burn in hell because you eat meat nor am I trying to shove facts down people’s throats. I am no better than you because I live a certain way, I am just expressing myself and my experiences. If you can post countless LadBible articles and football rants, leave me to post adorable pictures of micro pigs and hummus recipes.

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You may be told how to live your life – You will be told by ‘famous’ Vegan Youtubers such as Freelee and durianrider that drinking coffee isn’t vegan (even with substituting with soy or almond milk) because it is an addiction, you will be told that you shouldn’t have children because of world hunger or eat cooked food before 4pm. You will be told to live your life a certain way, but don’t buy into the bullshit. It is your life and you should live it like you please, vegan or not. As long as it’s good for you and your body.

Even though, there are many hardships to endure, when becoming vegan, there are many more gains!

This is me and this is what I believe, if you don’t like seeing it, unfollow, unsubscribe, unfriend. It’s that simple. I am not going to change for no one :)

 

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Carnivore approved Black Bean and Chickpea Burgers! #Vegan

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For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.

So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:

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 INGREDIENTS

Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
  • 1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)

1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.

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2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
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3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
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4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
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5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
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And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
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6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
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7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
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5 minutes that changed my life.

Happy Easter, friends!

If you’re sick of hearing about my transition to Vegan then I would simply close the tab pronto.

If you read my blog from time to time, you would have seen that I took part in 30 days of Vegan where I cut out all meat, dairy and any animal by-products. Whilst it is something I feel very strongly about and continue to document, I too can remember a point where I would constantly roll my eyes at certain vegan Facebook friends who never stopped posting about animal rights. I found them annoying and inappropriate, but after completing 30 days and involving myself within vegan communities, I found myself turning into that very person I use to find irritating.

I found these people irritating because it was easier than facing the facts, it was easier to not feel guilt over my pizza binges, my love of a good burger and be blindingly ignorant. Ignorance REALLY is bliss. To think thousands of animals have been slaughtered for my taste buds during my lifetime, died at my expense for what? For 10 minutes of satisfaction? Now, I am fully aware that my strong opinions will annoy individuals, I may even loose friendships over my choices, but at the end of the day, I feel that this route is for me and if I can open at least one persons eyes to this cruelty free, healthy, environmentally friendly way of life, I feel that my job on this earth is done.

So. I officially completed 30 days of Vegan last week and what did I do? I had a 4 day cheese BINGE. I dug a cheese filled hole full of pizza’s, mac and cheese’s, mozzarella panini’s and cooked and ate half a block of hulloumi for the sake of it. What made me do it? I have no idea. I congratulated myself and convinced myself that if I have a little bit of cheese here and there it won’t be that bad, at least an animal won’t die…right? I was then recommended to watch a 5 minute video and from there, my eyes were well and truly opened and my life forever changed. I can now confidently and happily call myself Vegan and will never consume dairy again.

If you’d like to know the truth behind the dairy industry, please click on the link below.

Now back to the weekend….I feel like I haven’t stopped moving and have had such a great, much needed weekend with family and friends.

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SATURDAY & SUNDAY – We woke up early and decided to stay at my boyfriends mum’s house in Sai Kung whilst she was away on holiday. We took the dogs to the beach where I had never seen them happier and then on to Classified for some lunch.

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I ordered the Pomegranate & Mango smoothie which included pomegranate kernels, mango, spinach, organic raw cacao and flax seed. It was delicious! Their menu had a variety of 12 different smoothie mixes which is great to see.

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I then ordered the dish that started off my cheese binge! Mac’n’Cheese.

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We spent the next two days relaxing in the sun, going for walks and watching our dogs run riot in the garden.

MONDAY: The following day, I woke up and devoured a oats bowl full of peanut butter, blueberries, oats, cinnamon and coconut shavings.

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Despite my extreme fatigue from consuming all that cheese, my boyfriend dragged me on a mini hike to Mui Wo with one of our friends. Of course we had to stop off at our favourite restaurant, The China Beach Club.

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TUESDAY: Today I caught up with a friend over some Mexican food. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find any Vegan options, but how silly was I! Mexican is one of the easily adaptable cuisines when it’s a staple consist of corn tortillas, avocado, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and rice etc. This tortilla bowl salad was THE ONE!

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I also tried passionfruit for the first time and oh my days, why did no one ever tell me about the watermelon + passionfruit combo!!

What did you get up to over the Easter holidays?

 

Weekend Blog: Brunches, BB gun wars and Burritos.

Apologies for the lack of posts (for those who read this blog!) The last week has definitely been a busy one. The first reason being, was that is was my the second anniversary of my dad’s death, which is always a tough time mentally, physically and emotionally, but it has also involved a couple nights of remembrance dinners and drinks. We decided that instead of eating out, I would cook dinner for the family and we would listen to all his old music. As I’m the only herbivore of the pack, I wanted to put out a spread which I know everyone would enjoy. It was a lovely night of memories, good food and paying our respects.  It also happened to be one of the best sunsets I have seen in a while.

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I prepared some roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, a Greek salad (without feta), hummus, olive dip, avocado dip, salsa, pull apart pesto bread,  and other tapas. I also bought some cold cuts and chicken for the carnivores.

On Saturday morning, we made our way to our friend’s 30th birthday brunch at The Grill Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. I was a little unsure that I’d be able find vegan options considering the brunch specialised in meat and seafood ,but thankfully there were a range of Vegetarian options and a few Vegan options I could choose from. The quality of food was  a lot higher than some of the other brunches I have tried. Paired with free flowing Champagne, what’s not to like? I’d even go as saying this brunch may be one of the best in Hong Kong. 

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We awoke on sunday with slight hangovers so we decided to make some vegan pancakes! These pancakes are so easy to make and just include brown rice flour, mushed banana and your choice of sugar (we used coconut sugar). We added some cacao nibs and paired the pancakes with some mango. Delicious!

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Post lunch, we took our fur babies for a mini hike up the mountain not far from our house. As sad as it sounds, it totally made my weekend watching the rascals run around the rock pools like mad with their new puppy friends.

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After some much needed relaxation time by the rock pools, we headed back to get ready for our second birthday party of the weekend, which was at a BB GUN WAR ZONE! 4 hours of BB gun wars with 3 different maps = ultimate fun. I have to admit that the combination of experiencing some painful close up shots to the arm and not having protective shoes, the fear got the better of me and I took a few breaks. However, it was ended up being one of the more fun Sunday nights I’ve had in a while and definitely beat my usual routine of binge watching reality TV shows. Oh, AND I even got to order my favourite vegan burrito from Cali Mex ;)

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Thank you again for a great weekend!

Follow me on instagram: @maiden_hk

A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies! (healthier version)

 

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4 ingredients + all Vegan friendly + no oven required = HEAVEN. 

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Ingredients: (makes 8 cookies)

  • 1 cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 40 grams of Vegan chocolate
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Let’s begin!

  1. Mash the banana using a fork. (If your bananas aren’t ripe, throw them in the microwave like I did, for a minute until soft)

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2. Add a cup of oats, one tbsp of peanut butter, your cut chunks of your vegan/dairy free chocolate and mix!

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3. Once mixed, pick a handful of the mixture and roll into a palm sized ball but flattening into a cookie shape

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4. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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5. Enjoy!

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Home is where the warmth is..

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After a year and a half in London, my boyfriend and I have packed up and returned to the 852! Hong Kong to me is not only my birthplace, my home, my happy place. I had a great time in London and was so grateful to be able to meet some amazing new people as well as catch up with my high school expat brat mates. I got to chance to live in Bayswater, Clapham and Camden and travel around Spain, Greece and Belgium as well as the UK.

I’m a big believer in the idea that your environment shapes everything in your life. That includes people, work, temperature and even scenery. As time went on, I started to get the itch to be back in my natural habitat, humidity, pollution and all. I’ve always known I was an extremely seasonal person and that my wellbeing is dependent on it but after constant chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, a weight gain of a stone and a half (damn you UK street food and dominos!) and a handful of health issues, I couldn’t get back quick enough.

After a very turbulent journey back to HK, we were greeted with a lovely 6 day storm which allowed us to get over probably the worst jet lag we’ve had to date. Its now been 7 weeks since we’ve landed and moved back home and I’m really enjoying seeing old places and faces. I joined my old gym, The HIT room, and have thrown myself into Body Pump, Grit strength and Plyo, hiking and even a little cross fit.

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I feel myself getting fitter as each day goes by but I have always struggled keeping my nutrition in check. I have found it very hard to completely cut out all of my intolerances and enjoy the food i’m consuming but with each week that goes by, I have made small changes which have kept me on the right track. I have also chosen to limit the alcohol I consume as lets be honest, It turns me into the worst possible version of myself (with no filter!) as well as leaves me with 3 day hangovers and palpitations resulting in bad food choices and extreme laziness. Its been tough during social events to not want to keep up with others and i have slipped up a few times..which is sometimes easier trying to explain to young adults that you don’t actually enjoy binge drinking.

It’s been great to be able to have the time to cook meals and try out some new recipes.

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Last month, My mother and I went to a 3 hour seminar at I-Detox where we were taught how to make healthier breakfast alternatives. At only $199 for the session, I came back having learnt (and tested!) a variety of options. Almond Milk (unsweetened and cacao mint), Nut Cheese, Overnight oats and GF breakfast muffins to name a few. I’ve attempted most of the recipes and have found that Cashew Nut Cheese has got to be my favourite! With it being so easy to make and 100% Dairy and Lactose free, I would happily substitute this cheese for any creamy cheese.

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I started out with soaking a cup of Cashew nuts over night to allow them to soak in the water (which will allow a more creamier taste.) After around 10 hours soaking, I drained the water and added my cashews to the blender. I then went on to add 2 probiotics capsules and oregano and cajun seasoning. With half a cup of water added, I blended the mixture until smooth. Using a nut milk bag or a old (unopened!) pair of tights. I placed the mixture in and squeezed out all the excess residue. I let the mixture set for around 10 hours until it represented a firm ball shape. For a less time consuming recipe, blend the soaked cashews and eat as a more hummus type texture.

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Another one of my favourite healthier alternatives I have recently become OBSESSED with, is French Toast! As I can’t say I ever had French Toast as I child, I feel that I have been trying to catch up on missed time. Try this recipe whenever you’re feeling like a treat.

1.Crack open 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk and whisk
2. Add 2 tsp of Chia seeds and whisk until mixed
3. Heat 2 tsp of Coconut Oil in a frying pan (instead of butter or oil)
4. Dip your slices of Rye Bread into the eggy, chia seed mixture and place in the frying pan to cook.
5. When slightly browning, take out of pan and use 1 tsp of Agave Nectar to cover (instead of honey or maple syrup)
Add Blueberries or strawberries for extra sweetness.

GF & DF Spicy, Saucy, Soft Shell Fish Tacos!

I can’t fathom the fact that it was near 30 degrees in London for multiple days in March and now in the middle of May, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I’m still in a jumper! I’m really going to miss the clean fresh air here in the UK but I am certainly looking forward to going back to the heat (smog?) of Hong Kong. As I have yet to embody that summer excitement as the warm months draw nearer, I thought it would be a great time to make my SPICY, SAUCY, SOFT SHELL FISH TACOS (not to mention they are also gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free AND full of flavour!

After binging on all the gyros, feta and wine during my trip to Santorini, I have found it hard to get back into the rhythm of watching what I eat and I have definitely started to feel the effects. The headaches are back, the lack of energy has peered its ugly face, I am constantly fatigued at all hours of the day and not to mention the fact that my stomach and face is so bloated I could easily be mistaken for an 8 month pregnant lady. At no fault but my own, it’s time to cut the excuses and give my body back the love it gives to me! I opted for some Tilapia fillets as my local Waitrose didn’t have the largest selection. Sole, red snapper, grouper, halibut or cod also work well. Whatever tickles your fancy. I seasoned the Tilapia with cumin, chilli, paprika, coriander, parsley and a splash of lime juice and placed in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.

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Whilst the Tilapia is baking, I prepared my toppings. I wanted to create a balance between spice, sweetness and a buttery flavour. (Avocado makes a great butter alternative and It is loaded with healthy fats, fibre and various important nutrients) IMG_8799

Toppings: I diced some cherry tomatoes, cut some cabbage and watermelon, grilled some red onion and picked some coriander.

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Sauce: I blended 2 avocados with fresh lime juice, almond milk and jalapeños for the spicy creamy sauce.

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For the taco shells I used soft corn tortillas by Cool Chile Co. They are 100% gluten free and contain nixtamalised ground maize, water and sea salt. I absolutely love them and they don’t leave you feeling groggy after.

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Taco: Heat a dry pan until medium hot. Warm each side of the tortilla until toasty but still soft. Lastly, add your toppings and enjoy!

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